Tag Archives: Lightweight

Kevin Lee released by the UFC

Former lightweight interim title contender Kevin Lee has been released from his UFC contract after eight years with the company.

Lee has lost his last two fights and four of his last five, with his only win since May 2018 coming via a head-kick knockout against the then-undefeated Gregor Gillespie at UFC 244.

‘The Motown Phenom’ was recently suspended for six months by USADA after failing a drug test, which he attributed to medication he takes for ADHD.

Lee was a popular figure on his rise through the promotion, racking up a record of 16-2 at one point with notable victories of Francisco Trinaldo and Michael Chiesa via submission.

Those victories earned him a lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216, where he was submitted in round three after coming into the bout with a staph infection.

He bounced back from that with a win over Edson Barboza in a main event bout, but his poor run followed that. His most recent appearance came at UFC Vegas 35 where he was beaten via unanimous decision in a welterweight bout by Daniel Rodriguez.

Lee’s inactivity in recent years has been an issue, fighting just four times since 2019 and just once in each of the last two years.

The decision to release him from his contract certainly comes as a shock to many, but at 29-years-old he still has plenty of time to rejuvenate his career elsewhere and potentially make a return.

His name still has star power and somewhere like Bellator or ONE Championship will surely be interested in bringing him in now that he is a free agent.

Conor McGregor reveals expected return date

The UFC won’t be without the Notorious one for much longer, after Conor McGregor revealed when he expects to be able to compete once again.

The former two-weight world champion is coming off the back of successive losses for the first time in his career, following defeats to Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 and UFC 264 in July.

However the most recent loss was marred by a gruesome leg injury at the end of the first round which forced the fight to be stopped by doctors.

McGregor landed a kick to the body of Poirier but his shin caught the elbow of ‘Diamond’. As he placed his foot back down to throw a strike, his leg broke under his weight and he collapsed to the canvas in pain.

The doctor stopped the fight but McGregor was adamant that he would return for revenge against Poirier, who made it 2-1 in their trilogy after previously earning a KO win in January.

After months of back and forth with several people on social media, McGregor was now revealed that he expects to be cleared for full sparring in April and should be able to return to action soon after.

The 33-year-old had immediately been earmarked for a return in the summer of 2022 following his injury, but there had been reports that his recovery had been going better than expected.

It now seems that those reports were wide of the mark though, with the timeline for his recovery seemingly in line with initial expectations.

His next fight is up in the air though. His wish for an immediate fourth bout with Poirier seems unlikely given that he will be challenging for the lightweight championship on December 11th, while Justin Gaethje is already essentially confirmed as being next in line for the winner of that fight with Charles Oliveira.

Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev are confirmed to be fighting each other in February now, which leaves open potential bouts against Michael Chandler or even Max Holloway for the summer.

Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev agree to main event bout

The UFC lightweight division has been given a huge fight early on in 2022 as Beneil Dariush and Islam Makhachev have agreed to fight.

The two top-five lightweight contenders have both been making their own individual claims for a potential title shot in their next fight, but it seems they’ve been told another win is needed to make that happen.

Now Dariush and Makhachev will face off on February 26th 2022 in a main-event bout to decide who deserves the next title shot between the two of them.

Dariush has been on a killer win-streak as of late, racking up a seven-fight win streak with victories over the likes of Thiago Moises, Drew Dober, Drakkar Klose, Carlos Diego Ferreira and most recently Tony Ferguson in a dominant performance at UFC 262.

Makhachev’s win streak is even more impressive, racking up an incredible ten-fight run which includes stoppage wins over Dober, Moises and Dan Hooker most recently at UFC 267.

The bout being made between the two of them almost guarantees that Justin Gaethje will get the next title shot, following his win over Michael Chandler at UFC 267 in a brilliant performance.

Dustin Poirier is currently scheduled to face Charles Oliveira at UFC 269 for the 155lbs title on December 11th, and the winner is expected to defend against Gaethje at some point in 2022.

The winner of this Dariush vs Makhachev bout would then be firmly placed to challenge the winner of that fight, having extended their win streak and added a top-five ranked opponent to their resumé.

Ali Abdelaziz, who manages both fighters, was quoted by ESPN as stating this would be a number one contender fight.

“I don’t like it when two guys who I really love have to fight, but these two have worked their whole lives to become a champion and this is a No. 1 contender match,” Abdelaziz said.

“Whoever wins this fight will fight for the title, so who am I to tell them not to fight? They’re at the top and I wish both guys the best of luck.”

Abdelaziz also confirmed that both fighters had agreed and signed new contracts with the UFC as part of the negotiations for this fight.

UFC men’s weight classes – Ranked

It’s been a while since the UFC had it’s weight classes as stacked as they currently are across the landscape of the organisation.

With the way MMA is evolving currently, we’re seeing more and more fighters who can do everything to a super high level and that means that amazing fights can show up anywhere on the card, at any time!

But which divisions are the ones to really look out for and which are looking a little slim right now? I’ve ranked them from worst to best.

Light Heavyweight

A division that has just crowned a new champion is usually hard to say that it’s lacking depth, however 205lbs is in the worst state that it’s been for a while.

Teixeira is 42 years old and holds the belt, but beyond Jiri Prochazka, Magomed Ankalaev and Aleksandar Rakic there aren’t many guys in the division who you can see being among the top guys in a few years time.

Unless there’s an influx of talent out of nowhere, then it’s hard to imagine this division attracting many eyes going forward.


The top five in this division is stacked and in Israel Adesanya they have one of the most popular fighters in the world as their champion. But outside of that, the division looks a little stale.

Israel Adesanya reacts after defeating Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision in their interim middleweight championship bout during the UFC 236 event...

The top five can all fight each other and have mixed results for the most part, but Adesanya has largely cleaned up by beating four of them convincingly so it’s hard to look beyond him as being a level above the rest.

That makes the division a little less appealing and therefore sits low down on this list.


Flyweight never die! A super exciting division because of the speed of the guys in the division, but outside the top four or five there aren’t many guys that you can consider as contenders.

Moreno looks set to reign for a while after dispatching of Deiveson Figueiredo relatively easily so their rematch at UFC 270 is unlikely to be as eventful as their first two bouts. There are a few contenders beyond that but the lack of finishes in the division doesn’t really help either unfortunately and it’s unlikely you’ll see this division headlining a card on its own any time soon.


The big boys tend to fight at a slow pace and historically don’t make for the most exciting fights, but this new wave of heavyweights is the best in a long time.

Francis Ngannou of Cameroon poses for a portrait after his victory during the UFC 260 event at UFC APEX on March 27, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The top of the division is full of exciting match ups, with the prospect of anyone ending a bout in the blink of an eye adding to the excitement. But on top of that, there are several young prospects coming through such as Tom Aspinall and Chris Daukaus while Ciryl Gane looks formidable too despite his lack of experience.

Don’t forget Francis Ngannou is the champion and could probably KO a horse, while Jon Jones is still waiting in the shadows to debut among the giants too.


This division would likely be even higher up in this list if it wasn’t for the fact that Kamaru Usman is just a level ahead of everyone. He’s beaten everyone there is to beat in his weight class, but the rest of the division is still absolutely stacked.

Covington would be champion in any other era, Leon Edwards has entered new territory with his abilities, Jorge Masvidal is a superstar that has transcended the sport, Gilbert Burns and ‘Wonderboy’ are in the conversation and Sean Brady is climbing his way up the ranks.

Don’t forget Khamzat Chimaev fights in this division too, so that’s always exciting.

Khamzat Chimaev of Chechnya prepares to fight Gerald Meerschaert in their middleweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on September...


The top three starts at 145lbs with a division that has at least four guys who could be champion in any era. Alexander Volkanovski has proven he is the man with two wins over Max Holloway, but ‘Blessed’ continues to show he is the gold standard too.

Beyond them this division is home to the likes of Brian Ortega, Yair Rodriguez, Zabit Magomedsharipov, Korean Zombie, Calvin Kattar and now Dan Hooker too.

There a string of exciting fights plus prospects such as Arnold Allen, Giga Chikhadze and veteran Edson Barboza competing at this weight it’s always got fireworks waiting to go off.


This has been considered one of the best divisions in the organisation for a long time and it’s still as stacked as ever.

Dustin Poirier throws an elbow at Justin Gaethje in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at Gila River Arena on April 14, 2018 in...

Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier, Islam Makhachev, Justin Gaethje, Michael Chandler, Conor McGregor, Rafael Dos Anjos, Beneil Dariush, Tony Ferguson, Brad Riddell, Rafael Fiziev, Joel Alvarez – the list goes on.

It’s almost impossible to make a bad fight at lightweight right now and they all have huge implications in some way or another. What a division.


Without a doubt in my mind, bantamweight is the place for you to place your attention if you want guaranteed entertainment in the UFC.

Aljamain Sterling is the champion and Petr Yan is interim champ, but the division also possesses the likes of Cory Sandhagen, TJ Dillashaw, Merab Dvalishvili, Rob Font, Jose Aldo in title contention. Then there are veterans like Frankie Edgar, Pedro Munhoz and Dominick Cruz looking to get back into contention.

Opponents Petr Yan of Russia and Aljamain Sterling face off prior to their UFC bantamweight championship fight during the UFC 259 event at UFC APEX...

Then beyond that you have the likes of Marlon Vera, Sean O’Malley, Adrian Yanez, Randy Costa and Song Yadong in the division you could quite easily create a top 30 rather than a top 15. It’s got everything and is comfortably the best division in the UFC right now.

Dan Hooker looking to move back to Featherweight

Dan Hooker has revealed that he is planning to move back down to featherweight after a test run to make weight.

Hooker is currently a top-ten ranked lightweight contender but has last three of his last four bouts in the division after initially going on a run at 155lbs.

‘Hangman’ has previously competed at 145lbs but moved up after suffering defeats to Yair Rodriguez and Jason Knight. He eventually went on a run of seven wins in eight bouts at lightweight, before his most recent run of results.

After wins against all of Ross Pearson, Marc Diakiese, Jim Miller and Gilbert Burns he was defeated by Edson Barboza in 2018. He bounced back from that with wins over James Vick, Al Iaquinta and Paul Felder to enter the top five of the division.

However against the top fighters in the division Hooker has struggled, suffering a decision defeat to Dustin Poirier at UFC Vegas 4 before a first-round KO defeat to Michael Chandler at UFC 257.

He returned to winning ways against Nasrat Haqparast via decision at UFC 266, but took a short-notice bout against Islam Makhachev at UFC 267 and was dominated en route to a first-round submission defeat.

Those defeats have seemingly convinced him to take a look back down at 145lbs, as he revealed in a tweet that he had made the 146lbs limit during a test cut.

The move down to 145lbs could set up a number of top fights for the primary striker with the likes of Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez, Korean Zombie, Brian Ortega and Calvin Kattar making up the top five behind current champion and teammate Alexander Volkanovski.

Hooker would likely enter against one of those top opponents should he make the final decision to move down in weight again, considering his current ranking in the weight class above.

Holloway looks certain to take on Volkanovski in his next bout for their trilogy title fight, while Ortega and Yair Rodriguez could be matched up having both suffered defeat in amazing bouts against the two top guys in their last outings.

Kattar is scheduled to fight Giga Chikhadze in January, so it’s possible that Hooker could re-debut in the division against the Korean Zombie, who was well beaten by Ortega before dominating Dan Ige last time out. Arnold Allen would also offer up a potential opponent.

2022 looks set to be the start of a new chapter for ‘Hangman’, and one that could have title implications for the New Zealander.

Is Conor McGregor vs Max Holloway 2 the fight to make?

It seems as though Conor McGregor has taken a particular interest towards the the man that many have dubbed as ‘the best boxer in the UFC’ in Max Holloway recently.

After his brilliant win over Calvin Kattar on Fight Island in January, Holloway watched on as McGregor was knocked out for the first time in his career by Dustin Poirier just a week later at UFC 257.

McGregor’s attentions were firmly on Poirier for their trilogy fight at UFC 264, which he lost due to doctor’s stoppage when he broke his leg at the end of the first round.

Ever since then, ‘Notorious’ has been vocal on social media about his next bout. He has claimed several times that he wants to fight Poirier again, insisting that they have unfinished business despite ‘The Diamond’ dominating the first round of their fight before his injury.

He’s also had online jousts with the likes of Nate Diaz, Jorge Masvidal, Kamaru Usman and even recently agreed to fight Michael Chandler at some point too.

But it now seems as though McGregor has taken his attentions solely to ‘Blessed’, who earned another Fight of the Night performance award with a brilliant win over Yair Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 42.

Throughout the night, McGregor was constantly taunting Holloway online about his new tag of ‘best boxer in the UFC’, claiming someone who has also absorbed the most head strikes in UFC history can’t be the best boxer in a series of now deleted tweets.

He went so far as to post a video on his Twitter account of him pacing back and forth around his living room, staring at the TV while the camera was focused on Holloway for his introduction in that fight.

Following Holloway’s win, he claimed that he was on the shortlist for a fight with McGregor and that he would welcome a rematch against the former duel-weight champion. But is that the fight to make for both fighters and the UFC?

Their first fight back in 2013 went somewhat under the radar. It was the first time in the UFC that McGregor didn’t get a finish, but despite a torn ACL suffered in the first round was able to earn a unanimous decision victory.

Since then Holloway has been on a tremendous run and has become one of the most popular and effective fighters in the companies history.

Conor McGregor punches Max Holloway in their UFC featherweight bout at TD Garden on August 17, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

The two men in question are arguably the best boxers in the company, with great counter-striking and power in McGregor’s company while Holloway is by far the best ever when it comes to volume and body work.

The match-up would be unique, with Holloway’s record of never having been knocked down in his 29 professional fight career being put on the line – while McGregor’s new leg and always waivering cardio would get tested again.

It’s a fight that would undoubtedly have the fans absolutely buzzing, as two crowd favourites go head-to-head in what would be sure to be a stand-up fight for the most part.

But realistically, it doesn’t make much sense. Holloway has earned himself a featherweight title shot now after back-to-back wins since defeats to Alexander Volkanovski, while McGregor in on back-to-back losses and just one win in the last five years.

Opponents Conor McGregor and Max Holloway face off during the UFC weigh-in inside TD Garden on August 16, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Not to mention that the fight would have to see someone come out of their favoured weight-class, with Holloway competing at 145lbs (with one defeat at 155lbs) and McGregor preferring to fight at 155lbs (despite only one win in the UFC in that division).

Business-wise though, it’s bound to appeal to them. If Volkanovski puts up some resistance to fighting Holloway having beaten him twice fairly recently, then finding McGregor an opponent that is main-event worthy and keeps him out of the title picture could really work.

If both fighters were keen for the bout to happen, as it seems they are, and there were viable options for the alternatives, then it’s very real that a fight takes place in 2022.

If it did, you could probably take it to the bank that it would be the highest selling pay-per-view event of the year for the UFC.

Conor McGregor agrees to fight Michael Chandler in 2022

Lightweight may have it’s next big match up for the new year after Conor McGregor verbally agreed to fight Michael Chandler in 2022.

Chandler was involved in the fight of the night, and one of the best fights of the year, at UFC 268 as he dropped a unanimous decision to Justin Gaethje to make it back-to-back defeats in the UFC.

McGregor is currently recovering from his broken leg suffered at UFC 264 as he fell to Dustin Poirier for a second time in a row at the event.

But despite the defeat on Saturday night, it seems that Chandler already has his eye on his next bout and called out McGregor on Twitter in a respectful manner on Monday.

Chandler posted a tweet that simply said ‘2022’, with a photoshopped image of himself and McGregor facing off.

With the internet buzzing about the potential match-up, McGregor logged in to verbally accept the bout. He said in a response, “I’m down at some stage for sure. Great fight the other night Mike, congrats!”

McGregor and Chandler both fought on the UFC 257 card in January, with Chandler earning a debut win against Dan Hooker via first-round knockout while ‘Notorious’ was stopped by Poirier in the second round.

The Irishman has made it clear that he wants to fight Poirier again once he is medically cleared from his freak injury, although the Louisiana native could be the lightweight champion at that point as he challenges for the belt at UFC 269 next month.

That would make an immediate rematch difficult for the UFC to make, with the likes of Justin Gaethje and Islam Makhachev both very deserving of a title fight in their own right.

It would allow the UFC to enter McGregor back into contention, with a win over Chandler likely allowing him to leapfrog some big names to set up the fight because of his status.

But after back-to-back defeats for both guys, this is a fight that would make a lot of sense for both and would absolutely get the fans excited.

Booking the UFC lightweight division after UFC 268

After UFC 267 and UFC 268 took place in consecutive weeks, the lightweight division has moved significantly forward in terms of the title picture.

After such a long period of domination by Khabib Nurmagomedov at the top of the mountain, it took a while for Dana White and the UFC to move on from him and help the division forward.

But with the title fight at UFC 262 which saw Charles Oliveira crowned champion, we finally got movement. Now, the UFC has finally stepped forward.

At UFC 267 it was Islam Makhachev who took the headlines at 155lbs. The man who is regarded as the heir to Khabib’s throne by the man himself took on Dan Hooker in a fight that many expected to be the toughest of his career.

Instead, Makhachev walked through the New Zealand native with an immediate takedown and then a nasty kimura lock to earn a first-round submission win.

It means a nine-fight win streak and a move up to fourth in the UFC rankings, with many believing he is now the obvious next contender for the title against the winner of UFC 269’s main event between the champion Oliveira and Dustin Poirier.

One person who didn’t believe that however was the man who is currently ranked at number two – Justin Gaethje.

Gaethje took on Michael Chandler at UFC 268 on Saturday night and in the undoubted fight of the year (and my personal favourite fight ever) went to war, with the belief that a win earned him another shot at the belt.

In a stunning back and forth bout where both men were hurt several times, ‘The Highlight’ came out victorious via a unanimous judge’s decision – his first since time going the distance since 2014.

But those results and performances have given the UFC a headache-and-a-half going forward. How does the UFC book the division now for 2022? We’ve had a go at doing it ourselves.

Winner of Oliveira/Poirier vs Islam Makhachev

This shouldn’t be controversial at all, but Makhachev absolutely deserves the next title shot.

A nine-fight win streak, beating excellent guys along the way and now starting to add finishes to his resumé too. He has the skillset to really cause a problem for either guy and both would be fresh match ups. Not to mention that he’s never had a title shot before.

Loser of Oliveira/Poirier vs Justin Gaethje

It may seem harsh to give Gaethje someone coming off a loss, but it makes sense. Gaethje’s last fight before the Chandler war was a title shot in which he was largely dominated, so to go straight back in for the belt after just one fight seems unfair when Makhachev exists.

Just like Robert Whittaker up a few divisions, Gaethje should beat the top guys and earn the spot back. A win over either Oliveira or Poirier after their title fight would mean he has no equal in terms of deserving a title shot.

Beneil Dariush vs Michael Chandler

Beneil Dariush reacts after defeating Tony Ferguson in their lightweight bout during the UFC 262 event at Toyota Center on May 15, 2021 in Houston,...

The forgotten man in the top five is Dariush, but he has a huge claim to being close to the title too. Currently on a seven-fight win streak after dominating Tony Ferguson at UFC 262, Dariush took some time away for his family with his wife pregnant.

But come 2022 he is likely to be ready to trade leather again, and who better than the former Bellator champ? Dariush only has the one marquee win, so may need to be built up a little more for a title shot and a win over Chandler would absolutely do that.

For Chandler, it’s a chance to put this most recent defeat behind him but also a reward for such a good performance despite the result. His stocks will have only risen with that fight, so there’s no harm in this match-up.

Conor McGregor vs Rafael Dos Anjos

Rafael dos Anjos of Brazil and Conor McGregor of Ireland face off during the UFC 197 on-sale press conference event inside MGM Grand Hotel & Casino...

You can’t talk about lightweight without mentioning Conor McGregor but after back-to-back losses to Poirier at UFC 257 and UFC 264, the UFC should have him fighting someone slightly lower down in the rankings.

Dos Anjos is desperate for another run at the title at 155lbs, but his first reign with the belt put him on a collision course with the Notorious one, until a broken foot ultimately led to the now legendary McGregor-Diaz feud.

There is a back-story for the company to build on, animosity to fuel McGregor, a payday for Dos Anjos and the chance to work their way up the rankings for both fighters. It just makes sense.

UFC 268: Violence guaranteed as Justin Gaethje finally returns to the octagon

UFC 268 is finally upon us and that means a return to the octagon for the true king of violence in Justin Gaethje.

It’s been over a year since we last saw ‘The Highlight’ in a UFC cage, when he was dominated and choked into unconsciousness by the consensus greatest lightweight of all-time in Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254.

Khabib’s victory proved to be the final fight of his career as he retired as the undisputed 155lbs champion with a flawless record of 29-0, with Gaethje supposed to be his toughest contender.

But on that night we never got to see the version of Gaethje that has become synonymous with entertainment and violence, as Khabib’s persistent pressure and mesmerising ground game proved too much for him.

After some time away and fights falling through for Gaethje though, he finally returns against Michael Chandler in Madison Square Garden at UFC 268 in a fight that could potentially fire him straight back into title contention.

Chandler was supposed to fight Gaethje in his debut fight after serving as back-up for the title fight at UFC 254, but he then couldn’t make the weight again at such short notice.

Then after knocking out Dan Hooker at UFC 257, Chandler was supposed to fight Gaethje again only for Khabib to cement his retirement decision and relinquish the title.

Michael Chandler punches Dan Hooker of New Zealand in a lightweight fight during the UFC 257 event inside Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January...

That meant the UFC offered Chandler the title fight against Charles Oliveira, who would KO him at UFC 262 to claim the belt. But after months of back and forth, Gaethje will finally settle his differences with Chandler.

This time though, we’re guaranteed violence. Both Gaethje and Chandler have got solid wrestling backgrounds but have tremendous power in their hands and have fallen in love with striking.

Gaethje once said in an interview that his career goal is to “break his shine on his opponents head”, while Chandler’s record of ten knockouts from 22 career wins is impressive to say the least.

Both men will come forward, both will look to strike first and both will throw with venom. Neither has cardio issues to deal with should the fight go to a third round and both have a point to prove after defeats in their previous outings.

Justin Gaethje punches Tony Ferguson in their UFC interim lightweight championship fight during the UFC 249 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena...

This has the makings of one of the most fan-friendly fights of the year, with a true dislike between the pair and an ambition to shut each other’s lights out in the process of making an impression to those watching in the UFC hierarchy and around the world.

A win may not be enough for either to earn an immediate title shot once again following Islam Makhachev’s impressive showing at UFC 267 but it cements the fact they should be in the conversation and likely puts them just a single victory away from stepping into the cage for gold once again.

Violence is guaranteed in this one, do not miss it.

What next for Islam Makhachev after UFC 267 domination?

The UFC returned to Fight Island this past weekend and once again there was a Russian lightweight dominating in his division that took a lot of the headlines.

Instead of Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 254 though, this time it was Islam Makhachev at UFC 267 as he took Dan Hooker to the mat and mauled him into a kimura submission win in the first-round of their highly anticipated bout.

It was a marquee name to add to Makhachev’s resumé, as he cemented himself among the top five and likely moved up into the top three of the UFC’s rankings at 155lbs with the win.

With the lightweight title up for grabs at UFC 269 in December in a bout between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, many are looking at UFC 268’s blockbuster bout between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler as the potential number one contender fight for the winner.

However with such a dominant and one-sided win for Makhachev in Abu Dhabi, what is next for him?

In reality, it should be the title shot. Makhachev’s nine-fight win streak is now the third longest in UFC history at the weight, behind only Khabib’s 13-fight run and Tony Ferguson’s 12-fight streak that was ended in May 2020.

He has beaten contenders all the way through the rankings and the only thing missing from his list of victims is one of the current ranked top five fighters.

Despite this though, he has more than earned his shot. His win streak is unmatched but on top of that both Gaethje and Chandler have already had title shots in their most recent fights and been beaten.

Poirier is more than deserving of his title fight which he’ll get next month, while Beneil Dariush is on a seven-fight win streak but only one of those opponents was ranked in the top ten at the time of their bout.

A fight against either Oliveira or Poirier would be a fresh match up for fans and would be highly competitive. It is the perfect and most logical next step for the organisation, the division and for Makhachev himself.

Islam Makhachev of Russia prepares to fight Dan Hooker of New Zealand in a lightweight fight during the UFC 267 event at Etihad Arena on October 30,...

Should something crazy happen in that bout and it makes the bout impossible to make, then he should face the winner of the Gaethje and Chandler match up.

There is no world where the winner of that fight should get a title shot ahead of him, with Gaethje having previously lost to Poirier in their fight and Chandler getting KO’d by Oliveira as recently as May.

Whatever happens, it would be a travesty for Makhachev to miss out on the next title opportunity. He’s not only winning fights, but he’s finishing opponents and looks better with each and every outing.

He has proven Khabib right as the uncrowned heir to the throne, he now deserves the chance to claim that position as his own.